Glow Staff & Ed Cunningham |December 23 2022
Glow Staff & Ed Cunningham
December 23 2022
In a year when hyperpop and hip-hop thrived and huge names made triumphant comebacks, these were the best songs from Japan in 2022.
2022 has been, once again, a year of immense depth and variety within the Japanese music landscape. And, as always, such was the breadth of music on offer that it’s tough to capture in any single list or intro. We at The Glow have attempted to cover a broad sweep of the year’s releases, from cutting-edge trends and breakout stars to underground gems and the resurgence of legends – and now we’ve narrowed down some of our highlights.
Starting with those legends, 2022 saw plenty of triumphant returns from established artists, ranging from Perfume releasing some of the trio’s finest material ever to Mondo Grosso performing the same trick twice – managing to re-conjure the magic of 2017’s stomping hit “Labyrinth” with “In This World”, a track just as meticulously well-built and overflowing with ecstatic release.
While in 2022 hip-hop perhaps wasn’t quite as dominant on The Glow as it has been in previous years, other genres have proven just as fruitful. The broad umbrella of ‘hyperpop’, for instance, which can be seen to cover bits of everything from boisterous dance-pop to spectral ambient pop, has thrived. From the quieter, textural likes of Utero, snowy and uami to the blunt bounce of 4s4ki, e5 and Nonamera, hyperpop even popped up on Hikaru Utada’s BAD Mode, which featured production from PC Music founder A.G. Cook.
Our favourite track of the year manages to straddle pretty much all this stuff: a somewhat established artist whose brand of hip-hop is heavy with the influence of hyperpop’s Eurotrance and cloud rap. Tohji’s “Super Ocean Man” was just one of many highlights on his career-best (so far) project t-mix, a piece that combined his signature rippling, manipulated vocals with an ecstatically direct and infinitely escalating dance beat.
The rest of The Glow’s best Japanese singles of the year is as diverse and far-ranging as always, a mix that flits between tectonic pop, inquisitive experimental music, blistering jazz, dizzying psych, zippy electronica, meticulous folk and more. Here are our 31 favourite Japanese singles of 2022.
Listen to a playlist of The Glow’s best Japanese singles of 2022 on Spotify and Apple Music.
Listen on Bandcamp
(Roman Label / Bayon Production)
(sarunome / subenoana)
(Tugboat Records / Space Shower Music)
Keep up to date with our Best New Japanese Music playlist on Spotify and Apple Music, updated weekly.
Author: Glow Staff, Ed Cunningham
Artist Tags: Cwondo, Akira Kosemura, Betcover!!, Haru Nemuri, Mondo Grosso, Tohji, cero, Perfume, Foodman, ZOMBIE-CHANG, Gimgigam, Xiangyu, aeoxve, S.L.N.M, Takuro Okada, Mom, UHHO UHHO UHHO, Gutevolk, Minakekke, Keiji Haino, Seiko Oomori, Shintaro Sakamoto, uami, Hajime Tachibana, Kikagaku Moyo, tofubeats, yuzuha, Summer Eye, Wednesday Campanella, Yukichi Kasaku/men
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